The world might stir itself into a hectic fervor over the release of flagship smart phones like the, but these devices come with elite features, monstrous engines and whopping price tags. If your phone needs are more modest, there's no need to throw away so much cash.
Samsung's Galaxy range of smart phones is constantly expanding, with a whole host of slightly differing models aimed at every segment of the market. The Galaxy Fame is towards the bottom end of the range, sporting a 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz single-core processor and a 5-megapixel camera.
It's available now for £110 on pay as you go.
Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Fame?
Are you absolutely obsessed with putting the Samsung name in your pocket, but don't have the cash to splash on the elite Galaxy S4? If so, then the Fame is worth checking out. With a design very reminiscent of the Galaxy S3, the Fame is one of the best-looking budget mobiles around.
It's running Android Jelly Bean and has a 5-megapixel camera that's easily good enough for those arty Instagram snaps. From there though, things go rather downhill.
Its 3.5-inch screen has an unimpressive resolution and awful viewing angles that make the colours distort unless you're holding it square on. The 1GHz single-core processor provides very little power, often resulting in an stuttery experience.
For similar money, you can pick up the. Its processing power is similar but its screen is much nicer. Alternatively, the is one of the best budget mobiles around, boasting a great screen, sleek, attractive Windows Phone 8 software and colourful, interchangeable cases.
Design and build quality
It's immediately noticeable that the Fame has taken a fistful of design cues from the Galaxy S3. It shares the same 'Pebble Blue' (or Marble White) colouring and comes with very similar faux metal edging around the sides. The S3's chrome-effect speaker grille is in place too, as is the chrome-edged home button on the bottom.
The Fame is certainly among the more attractive budget phones -- particularly when you put it against the miserable Huawei Ascend G510 -- but it's unlikely to convince anyone you've spent top dollar on it. The size gives it away for one. It's 113mm long and 62mm wide, which is very small compared to most smart phones. It's easy to wrap your fingers around though, and the rounded back makes it comfortable to hold in one hand.
It's 11.5mm thick which is pretty chubby, but about what you should expect on a low-end mobile. Build quality is generally fine. The all-plastic construction and glossy back feel about as cheap as the S3's does. It's far from premium, but nor will it fall apart at the first sign of trouble. The screen doesn't use hardened Gorilla Glass, so I worry that it might be more susceptible to small scuffs from keys over time.
Around the edges is the power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. Under the back casing is where you'll get access to the SIM-card slot and the microSD card slot to expand the internal storage.
You'll really need to make use of the SD card slot as the Fame only has 2GB of usable storage space. If you plan on taking lots of photos and videos or saving music locally, you'll want to spring for at least a 16GB card. Even so, Android Jelly Bean doesn't let you install apps to SD cards, so you'll have to be very careful about what apps you install. There's really only room for the everyday essentials -- glossy games such as N.O.V.A 3 are too big to fit on the phone.
The Fame has a 3.5-inch screen, which is very much on the small side for most smart phones. On the one hand, that does mean the phone is much more comfortable to hold than the biggest smart phone brutes (I'm looking at you,). The downside of course is there's less room to show off photos, video and apps. There's also less room for the on-screen keyboard, so if you've got chunky fingers I suggest having a try in a shop before you spend your money.
It has a resolution of 320x480 pixels, which is the absolute minimum I'd hope to see on any new phone. LG's Optimus L3 II had an appalling 320x240 pixels, which made most tasks highly unpleasant. The Fame's display is better, but it's still not great.
The extra pixels make the screen much sharper than the L3 II's, but icons are still a little fuzzy and small text on Web pages isn't clear until you zoom in. It shows off Facebook and Twitter well enough, but it's not going to do justice to your ebook library.
That's not helped either by the awful viewing angles. From square on, the screen isn't too bad, but viewing it from even a moderate off-centre angle and the colour distorts horribly. It's not a phone for people to crowd around, nor will it be good for casual video watching when you don't want to keep it -- or your face -- rigidly held in place.
It's at least fairly bright and the colours aren't too bad when you get them at the right angle. It has rather a cold colour cast to it, but I've seen worse displays on similarly priced phones.
Software and performance